In essence, this car was built by BRM in mid 1973, first raced in Niki Lauda in late 1973, raced in early 1974 then retired and stored by BRM until 22 October 1981 when it and all remaining BRM owned race cars, spares, equipment, tools and drawings were auctioned by Christie's Auctioneers at Earls Court in London. This car plus some others were acquired by Tom Wheatcroft for the Donington Museum where it was placed on display until early May 2015 when it was acquired by myself (through Rick Hall of Hall and Hall who acted on behalf of the Donington Museum) and air freighted to Australia. It is stunningly original and well, just beautiful generally. Plus it has a V12 engine. It is a Marlboro BRM liveried car.
BRM (actually it should be spelled B.R.M.) built and raced Formula 1 race cars from a factory complex in Bourne, Lincolnshire, England. There are an array of great publications that chart the rise and fall of BRM, my favorites all having been written by Doug Nye. Like many others, I am eagerly awaiting Volume 4 of the BRM story which I understand Doug is steadily advancing. A bit of plagiarism here from numerous sources which I will reference later:
"In the history of Formula 1 Grand Prix Motor Racing, B.R.M. (British Racing Motors) and Ferrari are the only constructors to have won the World Championship with a car they built completely themselves including the chassis, engine and gearbox. The B.R.M. P160 model comprises a B.R.M. designed and manufactured chassis, a B.R.M. 3 litre V12 motor and a B.R.M. 5 speed gearbox.
Between 1950 and 1977 the B.R.M. team started in 197 Grand Prix with 17 victories, 11 pole positions, 15 fastest laps, 1 driver’s word championship and 1 constructor’s world championship.
A direct development of the partially successful P153, the P160 model first competed in March 1971 and was to be the most successful of all 3 litre B.R.M. designs, having the longest racing career of any of the rear-engined cars of this marque. Designed by Tony Southgate, a total of ten P160 model chassis were manufactured, with progressive revisions over the 4 year racing career of this design ending with the final car, P160E Chassis 10. When Southgate left B.R.M in late 1972 the P160 was further tweaked by Gordon Cruickshank.
Compared to it’s predecessor, the P160 semi monocoque chassis was four inches wider, the wheelbase was increased by an inch to 97 inches and the nose and cockpit lowered by 1½ inches. The rear brakes were brought inboard resulting in a gearbox casing redesign and the monocoque now had an alloy skin of 18 gauge thickness in contrast to the 1970’s cars thinner 20 gauge skin. The P160 also incorporated side crash protection, which was designed in a manner that gave the cars their distinctive and hand formed bulbous side pod (Coke bottle) shape. It wasn't revolutionary like the Lotus 25, but it was finely thought out and it was widely adjustable. More importantly, the adjustments made a difference: if you changed the roll bar, it responded, which is an indication that the chassis is quite rigid and the geometry is well worked out.
The P160's structure had fabricated steel bulkheads with folded alloy interior sections and welded alloy exterior, individually hand-formed because of the complex curves. But it was a more difficult engine to package than most. If you had mounted that long V12 like a Cosworth, only bolted at the front, it wouldn't have handled at all. So it had a monocoque extension which carried two mounts part-way back along the engine, then a tubular structure back to the bellhousing, so that it was only partly stressed.
Tweaked once again by engineer Aubrey Woods the model 142 engine was fitted with 4 valve per cylinder heads and the 3 litre V12 engine would now safely rev to 11,000 rpm to develop some 450 bhp. Whilst this kept pace with the power of the Cosworth DFV, the B.R.M. V12 engines were more thirsty. P160E-10 is fitted with engine No. 009 and BRM Bourne quality control records indicate that engines 142-008, 009, 017, 018 , 021 and 022 were prepared for the Nurburgring GP and on 31 July 1974 the BRM's dyno at Folkingham recorded engine 009 as peaking at 444 bhp. Engine 009 is also rare in that is fitted with the original final development large valve cylinder heads.
Of the 121 Grand Prix races in which the P160 cars started, they finished 91, with Grand Prix victories in Monaco, Italy and Austria for Beltoise, Gethin and Siffert respectively. Allen Brown (Old Racing Cars) advises that Chassis numbers P160-01 to P160-06 inclusive (Chassis 01 at the 1973 British GP) plus Chassis 08 (at the 1973 German GP) were all written off during competition and BRM sold Chassis 07 and 09 to hillclimbers at the end of their F1 careers. Chassis 07 was also modified to fit a Weslake engine. Only Chassis 10 was retained by BRM, in it's original form.
Chassis P160E-10, was not only the last of the P160 series but is considered the last “real” B.R.M. (under the original Owen Racing Organisation) manufactured. The car competed in nine Grand Prix races, it’s first being driven by Niki Lauda at the Italian Grand Prix at Monza on 9 September 1973 in Marlboro BRM livery (competition number 21). It’s final race was at the French Grand Prix on 7 July 1974 driven by Francois Migault, where it finished 14th.
Chassis 10's best placings included a 4th at Silverstone and two 7th places at Brands Hatch and Brasilia in a non-championship event and also 9th at the Argentinian Grand Prix, driven by Henri Pescarolo.
After the French Grand Prix in 1974 the car was retained by Stanley B.R.M. Ltd and stored (for the purposes of driver training) at the B.R.M. works in Bourne, Lincolnshire England. In late 1981 the B.R.M racing marque was closed down and on 22nd October 1981 the remains of the B.R.M works team (The B.R.M. Collection) were put up for auction by Christies Auctioneers at the Earls Court Motorfair. This auction offered for sale engineering drawings, spare parts, engines, works tools and eleven B.R.M racing cars, some complete and in working order and others not working or offered as kits of parts.
Of the four V12 cylinder 3 litre cars for sale only one was in running order, P160E Chassis 10, which was described in the auction catalogue as having had an “extensive rebuild’ at the B.R.M. workshop in Bourne and presented in the Marlboro B.R.M. livery. This car, as well the other V12 engine cars including a non-running P139, a non-running P153, a P180 ‘needing assembly’ plus a V16 powered race car and number of other items including a V16 engine were purchased by Tom Wheatcroft for display at the Donington Motor Museum in Donington Park, Derbyshire England.
P160E-10 was on static display at the Museum from 1981 onwards however was taken out on two occasions at the Donington Circuit where it was once driven by Prince Michael of Kent as well as being driven once by David Andrews, the Managing Director of Lucas, at a historic race event in April 1984, finishing 5th. The car has not been involved in any accidents since it’s purchase by the Donington Museum and is totally original with the chassis, engine, gearbox and suspension componentry as manufactured by the B.R.M. works factory."
The car was also used in the movie RUSH.
For those of you interested in some further reading on BRM the sources for the above include:
Doug Nye : BRM - the Saga of British Racing Motors Volumes 1 to 3
Motorsport Magazine : BRM P160 article - February 2001, Page 84
Christies Sale Catalogue – The B.R.M Collection : Thursday 22 October 1981
MotorSport Magazine, December 1981 – Vol.LVII No.12 : ‘Around and about’ Page 1722
B.R.M. Association website : http://brmassociation.org/index.html
Rick Hall – Hall and Hall : Bourne, Lincolnshire England : http://www.hallandhall.net/
Old Racing Cars : http://www.oldracingcars.com/